Lontong Kikil (Beef Tendon Soup with Rice Cakes) Recipe

Lontong Kikil (Surabaya-Style Beef Tendon Soup with Rice Cakes)

Lontong Kikil is a popular street food in East Java especially Surabaya and surrounding areas.  My late dad loved beef tendon dish such as Gulai Tunjang (Beef Tendon Curry, a West Sumatran dish) and this lontong kikil.  When I still lived in Indonesia, lontong kikil was not my favourite at all.  I would still eat it if there was one but I didn't go around the town to find one.  Hence, living in a different country, it has made me crave the smell and taste of lontong kikil again.

In addition to the above reason, I need to utilize my petis udang (dark shrimp paste) so I finally decided to make this Kikil (Beef Tendon) Soup.  Yes, the East Java people almost use petis for everything.

Some people might think this is like Lontong Kari Bandung (Bandung style curry with rice cakes), but there is another difference besides adding petis.  This lontong kikil doesn't use any santan (coconut milk), but it applies many candlenuts to thicken the soup.  Also the collagen from beef helps this soup to tastes and feels a bit starchier than processed gelatin.

How to make lontong? Please click on any lontong words in this post, it will take you my post about it.

I'm glad I live in the city which has many different variants of ethnic products. I am able to get frozen beef tendon; it's already cleaned, all I need to do is rinse off, cut and cook it.

Lontong Kikil

- Surabaya Style Beef Tendon Soup with Rice Cakes -

adapted from Kedai Rachmah, translated by me


500 grams frozen beef tendon, thawed and rinsed off

1 1/2 centimeters galangal, bruised

8 kaffir lime leaves

3 lemongrasses, take white parts only and bruise them

3 liters water

extra virgin coconut oil for stir frying

Spices Paste:

1/2 tablespoon roasted coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground roasted cumin Jintan 1 sdt

2.5 centimeters (1-inch) long fresh turmeric roots

2 centimeters (3/4-inch) long kencur root (kaempferia galanga)-> I used kencur powder about 1 teaspoon

2.5 centimeters (1-inch) long fingerroot (temu kunci)

4 long red cayenne peppers, seeded

75 grams (2.65 oz) shallots

50 grams (1.76 oz) garlic

8 toasted candlenuts

1/2 tablespoon petis udang

ground white pepper



Lontong (Rice Cakes)

Fried Shallot Flakes

Key Limes (I substituted for calamansi/jeruk kesturi/lemon cui), wedged

Green Onions, sliced

Sambal Kemiri (Candlenuts Sambal)


In a large pot, combine 3 liters water, beef tendon, 1 lemongrass, and 4 kaffir lime leaves.  Bring to a boil and cook until beef tendon is soft; about 2-3 hours.  Separate the kikil (beef tendon) from the broth.  Wait until the tendon cool down and you can cut tendon into smaller bite pieces.  Combine these pieces back to with the broth in the pot.

Process all ingredients for spice paste in a food processor or use your mortar and pestle until smooth.

In a skillet or wok, heat the coconut oil.  Stir fry spice paste, galangal, the rest of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass until fragrant.  Add a small amount of beef tendon broth from the pot with a ladle over the stir-frying mixture.  Stir and transfer all mixture back to the pot.

Re-boil the kikil (beef tendon) soup.  Taste the soup, add more salt and ground white pepper as needed. Set aside.

Serving: Cut lontong into small bite pieces. Place them in bowl.  Laddle the kikil (beef tendon) soup into a bowl. Sprinkle green onion and shallot flakes on top. Serve with lime wedges and sambal kemiri on the side.

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